Self-Motivation vs. Self-Accountability
Raise your hand if you’ve set your alarm to get in a workout before work, only to lay there in the morning when it goes off thinking of an excuse to validate hitting snooze. We’ve all been there. You are not alone. I mean it’s hardly even fair given how comfy our beds and pillows are!
When it comes to health and fitness, the number one thing that people struggle with is accountability. Often, we are the only ones holding ourselves accountable, which makes us more likely to be lax when it comes to creating and sticking with good habits!
Sure, the world has created mechanisms for helping with accountability. There are apps, trackers, challenges, contests, programs, goal setting, etc. But guess what! Each of those things still require self-accountability. That’s right! A tracker only works if you input your information consistently and accurately. An app only holds you accountable if you actually open it up each day.
Believe me I am a huge fan of accountability helpers. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to YOU and your commitment to the goal that you set for yourself. No buddy system or month-long challenge is going to be a cure all if you haven’t found an effective way to stay motivated!
As a personal trainer, I know a thing or two about motivating others, but it’s a whole different game when it comes to motivating yourself. Often times we can be our own worst critics, and our own worst enablers. So how do we break the cycle and find a way to truly motivate ourselves? I’m sharing my four favorite tricks for sticking to your health and fitness goals that will make you a self-motivating machine!
Self-motivation is all about being your biggest fan
It’s not easy, but it’s the best gift you can give yourself. If you need a place to get started, or just want to change up your fitness routine, sign up for my virtual personal training program Body In Motion and take my Four Week Tone-up Challenge. This challenge gives you what you need to follow the four tricks we just talked about.
Spring is here!!!! So, let’s get out there and motivate ourselves to live the healthiest and happiest lifestyles we can!
Oh that hurt so good feeling a day or two after a workout that lets you know that you got a good one in. Have you ever felt this after a tough or intense workout? This is known as Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is caused by damage of the tissue from the eccentric (Where the muscle is lengthened) load of a movement that your body isn’t used to in regular activities or in training.
I like to use it as a sign of how well your body is adapting with a current program, especially in beginners. It allows me to understand if we need to adjust the program and how we adjust. This isn’t about the “no pain no gain” mentality. It is about adjusting your program with progressive overload to allow your body to adapt and change while helping you reach your goals. You can use DOMS as a tool and understand that when you damage the muscles and have soreness, you’ve changed something in your routine, you’ve challenged the muscles and increased the intensity in a way that has put stress on those working muscles.
In order to grow, and get stronger, you have to allow your body to adapt to the change before adding another factor to the routine. This will allow you to safely progress, help prevent injuries, and also a way to help minimize your DOMS affect. You don’t need soreness to build strength and see progress, but it can happen when there is a change in the routine that your body has to adjust to.
So when you are feeling DOMS after a workout, how do you cope with it?
Here are some ways to help manage your muscle soreness:
1. A thorough warm up
Warming up properly before a routine can help prep your body for the impact and/or load it is about to receive. A warm up of 10-20minutes can help get your muscles ready. An example of the warm up order may look like this:
2. A thorough cool down
At the end of a routine once the muscles have been worked, It’s important to bring your heart rate back down to resting and to stretch the muscles that have just been worked. Taking 10-20minutes to cool down can have your body feeling good after a routine, and will greatly benefit you. Here is an example of what a cool down may look like:
3. Move your body the next day
The movement should be different from what made you sore. It doesn’t need to be high intensity, it can be light movements, but it’s important to move. Moving your muscles that have been worked the day before can help loosen them up.
4. Eat food!
Part of your recovery after a workout is to refuel and replenish your nutrition and calorie intake.
In order for your muscles to rebuild and grow after a routine you need the right nourishment to help the process along. You need to replenish your carbs for energy, you need to eat your fats so your body can transport vitamins and nutrients to the muscles needed, and you need protein because they are the building blocks for muscles. Other nutrients like vitamins play different roles in the recovery process as well. So remember to eat a variety of different foods to nourish your body properly.
5. Hydrate well
After training, you may lose water from sweating. It’s important to replenish that water, and keep yourself hydrated because your muscles need water to help repair and grow. Water helps to transport nutrients to the muscles and remove toxins and waste from the body.
6. Adequate sleep
Allow yourself to sleep. Especially after an intense training day, a long run, or a heavy lifting day. Your body takes this time to repair, rebuild, and grow the muscles.
Smoothie Bowls are so easy to make
When the temperature begins to rise we all crave cool and refreshing beverages.
I love love love smoothie bowls! And when I'm not in the mood to cook or I want something to grab and go, I'll usually get one from the closest smooth bowl shop in town. But this dish is SUPER easy to make and doesn't take much prepping if you want to throw one together yourself. So if you have all of your favorite ingredients at home, go ahead and blend one up.
A smoothie bowl is definantly something that can easily be high in calories depending on how excited you get over the toppings. But guess what! When you put it together yourself, you can adjust what goes into your bowl, and how much. You can nourish your body properly with this tasty treat and still enjoy the delicious sweetness of the fruits and toppings you choose.
Tips to enjoy your bowl while keeping it low in processed sugars:
Acai Bowl Ingredients to make 1 bowls
Blend the frozen acai, cherry berry medley, banana, spinach, and water together. Pour the mix in your serving/cereal bowl and add your toppings. I like to layer the crunch first (granola and chia seeds), then the fruit, and drizzle the top with nutella.
Makes 1 bowl and is about 376 Calories.
49g Carbs. 16gFats. 7g Protein.
You can add whatever toppings you'd like
You can add whatever toppings you'd like to your bowl. Get creative, nuts, coconut flakes, goji berries, peanut butter, etc. I even added cheerios to my 11month old son's bowl so he had a crunch that was age appropriate. Fuel your body, and enjoy this sweet treat.
Resistance Training Vs. Cardio
Resistance training is so important for women to add to their workout regimen. Cardio is so popular and the easy thing that seems to get done without a thought. If a day is going to be skipped, for a lot of women, it ends up being a resistance day. Some of the reasoning behind this is that they want to burn more calories because they had a busy day of doing nothing and cardio just makes sense and another reason may be because they aren’t comfortable with resistance training - the idea that it is known as a masculine activity sets them back. Do either of these reasoning ring a bell for you?
6 reasons why resistance/strength training is important for women and why it should be a priority to have in your routine.
Helps you lose fat
Resistance/Strength training is so important for fat loss. When you put physical stress on your muscles during a training session, you break them down, causing them to repair and build during the day(s) you are resting. This process requires energy, which means your body is going to break down carbohydrates and fats from foods you eat and from nutrients stored in your body. This allows your body to burn calories more efficiently and effectively at rest.
What is toning up? It’s building lean mass in your body - muscle. In order to get the lean and sexy muscle definition you need to focus on strength training. When it comes to this type of training, progressive overload is going to help you reach your goal. This means increasing your intensity/volume lifted overtime. It will help you grow and build strength and muscle safely and effectively.
A study (Ludin, A.F.M. et al 2015) with 30 participants showed that after 10 weeks of high intensity progressive resistance training there were positive changes in DHEA, which is a hormone that can help relieve stress and improve your mood. So not only does aerobic/cardio help with stress relief, but resistance/strength training can also aid in it.
Resistance training can help you prevent injury in your daily activities. It helps you create a balance in your muscles, and strengthens the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. When your muscles and tendons are strong, they can help support the body during movement. With ligaments and bones getting stronger, they’ll be able to better withstand the impact that your body takes on.
Improves bone density
Osteoporosis is when your bone density decreases and causes your bones to become weak and fragile. When it comes to exercise, it is recommended that weight bearing exercises (strength training) are best for bone health. This type of physical activity helps activate bone remodeling.
Post menopausal women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men due to the changes in hormones. So it is important to begin resistance training to help your body build its strength, improve bone density, improve coordination, and to help prevent falls from occurring in your older age.
A study by Wallace and Ballard showed a correlation between lean body mass (muscle) and bone health. Individuals who had more lean mass, were regularly physically active and showed greater bone health.
There is something about building strength that causes you to walk a bit taller. It could be that with the right strength program you improved your posture, or maybe it’s because you feel good about knowing what you are doing in the gym (in a world that is known to be more masculine), you feel happier and have more energy to power through your day, you can move better because everyday tasks are easier, and on top of that, and you begin to appreciate your body as you learn how to better care for it.
MAT LUDIN, ARIMI FITR, et al. “The Effects of High Intensity Progressive Resistance Training on Psychological Stress and Biochemicals Parameters.” Jurnal Sains Kesihatan Malaysia, vol. 13, no. 2, 2015, pp. 53–60., doi:10.17576/jskm-2015-1302-06.
Wallace LS, Ballard, JE. Lifetime physical activity and calcium intake related to bone density in women. J Wom Health 11(4): 389-398-2002
How to incorporate veggies into your dishes.
We all know that vegetables are good for you and that they are healthy to eat. But some of us have a hard time getting these nourishing bites into our system. It might be that you don’t like them or maybe you just don’t know how to prepare them in a way that you CAN enjoy them.
I love salads. I’m one of those people who could have a salad each day, not get tired of it, and be super content with raw veggies over a green leafy bed. But this isn’t the case for everyone. You don’t have to only eat salads to be healthy, there are other ways to eat your nourishing colors.
I started to play around with different ways that I could add vegetables into our meals and snacks at home once my son started to get a little picky with his solid foods. At first he seemed to enjoy eating veggies, and now it’s a hit or miss. So I got creative with some recipes and mixed some of the nourishment into dishes that I know he would enjoy.
The recommendations for vegetable intake (for an adult) is: 4-5 servings of vegetables a day. A serving of vegetables can look like: 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables or ½ cup cut up raw or cooked vegetables.
8 Ways To Incorporate Vegetables In Your Lifestyle To Help, Not Only Nourish Your Body, But Help You Enjoy The Foods
Body Weight Workouts
Body weight workouts are some of my favorites! This type of training can go from simple movements, to challenging your body’s strength in unbelievable ways. Not to mention, body weight routines can be done ANYWHERE, because most don’t need equipment. And if there are pieces of equipment that need to be used (ie: steps/benches/chairs/poles/etc), they can usually be found around the house or outside at parks.
With the pandemic going on, and all of us being stuck in our homes ALL day long, it can be tough to get ourselves moving. But it is more important than ever to do so.
The more sedentary we are, the more we put our health at risk for joint problems and diseases.
So, that being said, what is 20-30 minutes out of your long day? If you are utilizing some space in your home for your workouts, or heading outside in the yard, or to the park, you can get a quick and efficient resistance workout in, using just your body weight. No it’s not a gym, and no it’s not heavy lifting - but there are ways to manipulate the movements to give your muscles a different type of challenge and to help you build and maintain your strength.
There are so many ways you can challenge your body. You don’t always need weights, you just need to manipulate what you do have and start moving!
When it comes to working out at home, the biggest question that I get is, "What equipment should I get?" And with that, it always depends on the individual. If you live in a small space and don't want your gym equipment out in your living room every day, then you can look for pieces that are easy to store and still very efficient. But maybe you have enough space to have an entire space just for working out and don't mind displaying your gym equipement, then you can get multiple dumbbells and kettlebells - maybe you want to get a rowing machine, or another piece of cardio equipment as well as the weights. Each individual is different when it comes to purchasing equipment for your home. But it's always great to have the extra resistance.
Whether you are somebody who religiously heads out of the house to workout in a gym facility or you would rather stay home to workout, it’s always a great idea to have some equipment for those home workout days. We are all home more so now than ever before with the pandemic, so it’s a good idea to have a few things that will help you keep up with your routine when the gym isn’t an option.
Here are some of my favorites to help get you started with your home fitness collection. The equipment that I recommend is easy to store and very versatile - So whether you live in a spacious home or a studio apartment, you’ll find that these pieces can be very efficient in building strength and endurance, while making it easy to pack/put away.
5 Pieces of Equipment to Start Your Home Gym/Studio
It is so easy to create excuses to keep us from starting habits for a healthy and active lifestyle, even if we know that starting it can greatly benefit us. We all want a quick fix, a magic pill to do exactly what we want done, a snap of the finger and BAM you look good and are healthy as a horse. But if I’m being honest, it doesn’t happen that way.
Sure there are trendy crash diets and workout challenges that help people achieve a goal in a short period of time, but that doesn’t last long. Those results don’t last, and usually lead to unhealthy habits that continue and repeat. To really get on track, it is okay to start small and to start slow. You want to get into a healthy habit and create routines. The goal is to create a lifestyle that you can keep up with, so you can enjoy life and love who you are.
It may be a new year, but every day is a new one, so why not get started now? The best way, that I have found, to keep me on track with my goals is to write down everything. So do it, write it all down - everything you want to accomplish, how you are going to accomplish your goals, the things that make you feel good - write it all down.
Create a list each week of what needs to get done. Set your priorities, so the most important tasks can be finished first. Create small goals each day/week that are easy and realistic for you to complete.
How do you make health a priority? Focus on movement, on drinking more water, on eating your fruits and veggies, on getting more rest and sleep. Think about why you are doing this, is it for yourself?
Some examples of these health and fitness goals can be:’
In order to see the results, you have to start somewhere, you have to progress, you have to build, and you have to be CONSISTENT. Create a healthy habit, and make a lifestyle for yourself.
Get organized - Set your priorities - Get started - Hit those goals
Jenna Webster CSCS